Archive for the ‘Barack Obama’ Category

Russia’s Medvedev says he’s Upbeat About America With President Obama

December 4, 2008

President Dmitry Medvedev said he hopes Russia’s relations with the United States improve after President-elect Barack Obama takes office, according to an interview released Thursday.

Moscow’s relations with Washington have been strained by disputes over U.S. missile defense plans and Russia’s war with Georgia in August.

But Medvedev dismissed suggestions that the chill could lead to a new Cold War, and said he expects the new U.S. administration “to take constructive, reasonable stance, to show willingness to compromise on the most difficult issues.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,left, and Prime Minister Vladimir ...
When journalists see photographs like this from Russia they often ask, “Who is the school master?”  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev,left, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin seen at their meeting in the Gorki residence outside Moscow, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008.(AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Vladimir Rodionov, Presidential Press Service)

“What we have recently heard from Washington makes me feel moderately optimistic,” he said, without elaborating, in an interview with Indian Broadcasting Corporation Doordarshan that was posted on the Kremlin Web site Thursday.

Medvedev and Obama spoke by telephone last month, but the details of the conversation were not released.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_eu/eu_
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Obama’s Many “Number One” Priorities

December 3, 2008

Remember this simple catchphrase for priorities: “It’s the economy, stupid”?

Many think that should be the watchword for the new President Barack Obama.  But a confusing and dangerous miasma of foreign policy challenges lurks and lurches ahead. Without carefully applied wisdom, the United States could make matters worse on a wide range of international fronts and issues…

President-elect Barack Obama waits to get on his plane with ... 
President-elect Obama with his two Blackberris and some light reading.
(Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

Yesterday, two think tanks said the U.S. should move away from Iraq and work like the devil on the nuclear covetous Mr. Ahmadinejad and Iran.

The Brookings Institution and the Council on Foreign Relations said it is time to make peace in the Middle east as a “top priority.”  For the past six years under President George W. Bush, U.S. foreign policy in the region has been dominated by Iraq, said Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center at Brookings, and Richard Haass, president of the Council.

Now the two agree the real problem is Iran.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives at the U.N. ... 
Nuclear aspirant: Mr. Ahmadinejad of Iran

One difficulty with this line of thinking is that, depending on the day, the think tank report one considers, and the newspaper headline, America faces stadium full of “top priorities.”

In Russia, Medvedev and Putin believe they should be tops on the Obama agenda.  Mr. Medvedev even threatened to deploy nuclear armed missiles in Eastern Europe unles and until the U.S. backed off of its missile defense ambitions with Poland and the Czech Republic.

And the Medvedev/Putin thrust cannot be overlooked: the two had no qualms about invading Georgia to get the attention of the U.S. and NATO: and it worked.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits a ballistic missile ...
Russia’s Medvedev, in front of a startegic Russian missile, said his missile advances will overwhelm U.S. defensive measures in the next few years.
AFP/Pool/File/Dmitry Astakhov

Terrorism could be the number one priority.  Just yesterday the U.S. Director of National Security said in essence that the Pakistani Islamist radical militant group  Lashkar-e-Taiba  blew up Mubai, India, last week, killing nearly 200.

On the same day, yesterday, a group of wise men said the U.S. can expect to face a biological or chemical attack.

Is another 9-11 in America’s future?  And are we ready to defend or respond?

Pakistan itself might lay claim to Mr. Obama’s top priority.  Bankrupt, last weekend rioters ripped through the nations largest city, the Pakistani Army was pinned down by terrorists in the tribal areas, and the nuclear-armed government was under fire from all domestic and international sides over Mumbai.

A Pakistani newspaper wondered yesterday if the Army was about to break with the elected government of mr. Zardari and his Minister Mr. Gilani.

Then there are a few small matters with China, North Korea and you name it.

Oh and there are just a few domestic realities and campaign promises that need our next president’s attention: OPEC and oil, drill or not to drill, schools and education, tax relief, jobs and unemployment,health care, AIDS and the list goes on.

You won’t convince me for a second that the modern miracle of multi-tasking and several Blackberries will resolve this poisonous soup.

America needs to take a deep breath and close its eyes: too much Obama-mania could cause one not to think.

Mr. Obama, the United States, all Americans and all Western allies are in for some very hard work, sacrifices of an unknown nature, and difficult decisions.

Here’s a simple truth: The age of simplicity is over.

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From Wikipedia:

It’s the economy, stupid” was a phrase in American politics widely used during Bill Clinton‘s successful 1992 presidential campaign against George H.W. Bush. For a time, Bush was considered unbeatable because of foreign policy developments such as the end of the Cold War and the Persian Gulf war. The phrase, coined by Clinton campaign strategist James Carville, refers to the notion that Clinton was a better choice because Bush had not adequately addressed the economy, which had recently undergone a recession.

Always The Bridesmaid: Obama Names Bill Richardson For Commerce

December 2, 2008

For Bill Richardson and many Latinos, this is good news and bad news.  He was chairman of the 2004 Democratic National Convention as well as Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association in 2005 and 2006.  He has paid his dues.  The highly qualified Governor of New Mexico, former Big City Mayor, Ambassador to the United Nations, Energy Secretary and candidate for President of the United States has been asked by Barack Obama to serve as the Secretary of Commerce…..
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Barack Obama is expected to nominate New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson to head the Commerce Department, a senior Democratic source said on Tuesday.

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President-elect Obama is expected to announce the appointment during a news conference scheduled for 1140 EST/1640 GMT on Wednesday in Chicago, his fifth since he began naming nominees for his Cabinet.

Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson in Albuquerque, August ...
Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson in Albuquerque, August 18, 2008.(Jim Young/Reuters)

The appointment of Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador and energy secretary who became an Obama supporter earlier this year after dropping his own presidential bid, would make him the first Hispanic named to Obama’s rapidly filling Cabinet.

Last week Obama announced members of his economic team including his nominee for Treasury secretary, New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner, and this week he unveiled his national security team including his designate for Secretary of State, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Richardson, 61, had been a contender for the secretary of state post that went to his former Democratic presidential rival Clinton, but at Commerce he will play a key role in efforts to revive the faltering U.S. economy.

(Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Sandra Maler from Reuters)

Bill Richardson

Obama Unveils His National Security Team

December 1, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama called for “a new dawn of American leadership” on Monday as he formally introduced his national security team, led by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as his nominee for secretary of state.

“We will strengthen our capacity to defeat our enemies and support our friends,” Mr. Obama said in Chicago. “We will renew old alliances and forge new and enduring partnerships.”

By David Stoud
The New York Times

The new president said he was sticking to his goal of removing American combat troops from Iraq within 16 months, which he called “the right time frame,” and that this would be accomplished with safety for the troops and security for the Iraqi people.

He introduced his team one by one, starting with Senator Clinton, his former bitter rival for the Democratic presidential nomination; then Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who will stay on, at least for a time, in the new administration; Gen. James L. Jones, the former NATO commander, to be national security adviser; Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona to be secretary of homeland security: Susan E. Rice to be ambassador to the United Nations, and Eric H. Holder Jr. to be attorney general.

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

President-elect Barack Obama presented his national security team at a news conference in Chicago on Monday.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/02/us/politics/02obama.html?_r=1&hp

Candidate Obama Made Fun of Hillary’s Foreign Policy Experience; President-Elect Plans To Hire Her

November 29, 2008

It wasn’t too long ago that Barack Obama and his advisers were tripping over one another to tear down Hillary Rodham Clinton’s foreign policy credentials. She was dismissed as a commander in chief wanna-be who did little more than sip tea and make small talk with foreign leaders during her days as first lady.

“What exactly is this foreign policy experience?” Obama said mockingly of the New York senator. “Was she negotiating treaties? Was she handling crises? The answer is no.”
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By Nancy Benac, Associated Press
In this Feb. 26, 2008 file photo, then Democratic presidential ...

In this Feb. 26, 2008 file photo, then Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., left, and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., respond to a question during a Democratic presidential debate in Cleveland. It wasn’t too long ago that Obama and his advisers were tripping over one another to tear down Clinton’s foreign policy credentials. She was dismissed as a commander-in-chief wanna-be who did little more than sip tea and make small talk with foreign leaders during her days as first lady. Now, Clinton is on track to become Obama’s secretary of state.(AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)
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That was in March, when Clinton was Obama’s sole remaining rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.
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Now, Clinton is on track to become Obama’s secretary of state.
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And, unsurprisingly, the sniping at her foreign policy credentials is a thing of the past.
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Obama adviser William Daley over the weekend said Clinton would be “a tremendous addition to this administration. Tremendous.”
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Senior adviser David Axelrod called Clinton a “demonstrably able, tough, brilliant person.”

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http://news.aol.com/main/obama-presidency/article/obama-team-
reinvents-clinton-after-digs/262862

Hillary At State And Obama: Never hire someone you can’t afford to fire

November 29, 2008

One rule of employee relations? Never hire someone you can’t afford to fire. Barack Obama’s offer to let Hillary Clinton be secretary of state has already been marked down as a brilliant co-option of his former rival. But nothing comes for free, and the question is just how big a price Mr. Obama will pay in the end.

Wall Street Journal Editorial/Commentary
By Kimberley Strassel

[Potomac Watch] 
Associated Press

For now, he is getting only praise for his surprise pick. The move fits neatly into the media narrative that Mr. Obama is drafting a team that will challenge his thinking. It’s also being described as a gesture that could heal party wounds and mollify Clinton supporters Mr. Obama never won to his side.

The actual motivation? Short term, Mr. Obama understands his real struggles are going to be in the Senate, where he will need 60 votes. Left there with nothing but a potential future run against Mr. Obama, Mrs. Clinton would be tempted to use her position to highlight her differences with the sitting president. Even as a junior senator, she could gum up his works. Mr. Obama does not need that.

The job at State all but eliminates this threat. As the nation’s top diplomat, Mrs. Clinton will be barred, both by law and by custom, from partisan politics. She’ll have to dismantle her extensive political operation, and end the patronage that has earned her continued loyalty.

There’s arguably also not enough time for Mrs. Clinton to make her mark as secretary of state, and find a reason to break with her boss, and piece back together her empire, and get into a presidential race. They both know that in taking this cabinet post, Mrs. Clinton is clearing herself from Mr. Obama’s political path.

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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122783202017862989.html

Gates agrees to stay on at defense post

November 26, 2008

By Sara A. Carter
The Washington Times
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has agreed to remain at his post if asked by President-elect Barack Obama, sources close to the defense chief told The Washington Times.

Mr. Obama has also settled on the Republican defense secretary as his choice for the post, the Associated Press reported.

Mr. Gates has won bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill for the reduction of violence in Iraq and for his overall management of the Pentagon.

He would be in a position to help lead a smooth transition between administrations at a time when the United States is preparing to withdraw forces from Iraq and send additional troops to battle a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.

His selection would also allow the incoming president to concentrate on the financial crisis without having to worry about upheaval at the Pentagon.

Mr. Obama reportedly made the decision to ask Mr. Gates to stay for at least the first year. The announcement was expected after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“It’s a done deal,” ABC reported Tuesday, citing a source close to the decision-making process.

Officials in the Obama transition team said they could not immediately confirm the reports.

Gates

Gates

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov/26/gates-a
grees-to-stay-on-at-defense-post-if-asked/

FDR and Obama: Similar in Anticipated Trouble, Hope?

November 21, 2008

Americans knew they were in for hard times when they elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  They were seeking hope.  But they had no idea of what really God had placed ahead.

Most of this is from Wikipedia:

FDR was the the thirty-second President of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945 and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt were related but only distantly. They were fifth cousins. He was a central figure of the 20th century during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems.

Although recovery of the economy was incomplete until almost 1940, the programs he initiated such as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continue to have instrumental roles in the nation’s commerce. One of his most important legacies is the Social Security system.

As Britain warred with Nazi Germany, Roosevelt provided Lend-Lease aid to Winston Churchill and the British war effort before America’s entry into World War II in December, 1941. On the home front he introduced price controls and rationing, and relocation camps for 120,000 Japanese-Americans. Roosevelt led the United States as it became the ‘Arsenal of Democracy‘. Roosevelt, working closely with his aide Harry Hopkins, made the United States the principal arms supplier and financier of the Allies. America had a vast expansion of industry, the achievement of full employment, and new opportunities opened for African-Americans and women. The new Conservative coalition argued unemployment disappeared and closed most relief programs like the Works Progress Administratio (WPA) and Civilian Conservation Corps. As the Allies neared victory, Roosevelt played a critical role in shaping the post-war world, particularly through the Yalta Conference and the creation of the United Nations.

FDR consoled America through the Pearl Harbor attack and empowered engineers and scientists to create the atomic bomb.

Through all of FDR’s many trials he was crippled and in a wheel chair or in heavy steel braces.

Barack Obama’s tasks might be tall but as we compare him to FDR we should be cautious.

Related
“American Press has Turned Into a Joke” Comparing Obama To FDR, Lincoln

Left cuts Obama slack for now

November 21, 2008

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama boasted of opposing the Iraq War from the start.

By Glenn Thrush and Ryan Grim, Politico

But as president-elect, he has come to the rescue of surge supporter Joe Lieberman and flirted with the idea of keeping on Bush administration Defense Secretary Robert Gates — and now he seems poised to nominate war-authorizing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to serve as his secretary of state. 

The sound from the left: not silence, but no howls of betrayal, either.

“Anybody who has reacted after two weeks is not a serious person,” said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.).

Members of Obama’s loyal liberal base — from the Netroots to campus liberals to Hill Democrats — are watching closely as the candidate’s vague incantations of hope coalesce into cold, concrete presidential decision making. It’s not a seamless transition, but so far the left seems to be cutting Obama some favorite-son slack. Then again, he’s been president-elect for only two weeks — even milk bought on the day he was elected hasn’t had time to go sour.

“People continue to be excited,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat who represents an Oregon district he described as one of the five most progressive in the nation. “They’re still going to websites. There are campaigns they can be involved with. They’re still networking and raising ideas and moving forward.”

Anti-war voters are used to being disappointed. Some were flabbergasted when George W. Bush won a second term in the midst of the war in 2004; others were disillusioned when the Democrats didn’t do more to stop the war after capturing majorities of the House and the Senate in 2006.

And for some, that “here we go again” feeling came rushing back recently when Obama urged his soon-to-be-former Democratic Senate colleagues not to hold “grudges” against Lieberman, who infuriated liberals with his support for Iraq then picked at the scab by supporting John McCain — and opposing Obama — during the presidential race.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20081121/pl_politico/
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For Obama, No Higher Priority Than Arab-Israeli Peace

November 21, 2008

The election of Barack Obama to be the 44th president is profoundly historic. We have at long last been able to come together in a way that has eluded us in the long history of our great country. We should celebrate this triumph of the true spirit of America.

By Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski
The Washington Post

Election Day celebrations were replicated in time zones around the world, something we have not seen in a long time. While euphoria is ephemeral, we must endeavor to use its energy to bring us all together as Americans to cope with the urgent problems that beset us.

When Obama takes office in two months, he will find a number of difficult foreign policy issues competing for his attention, each with strong advocates among his advisers. We believe that the Arab-Israeli peace process is one issue that requires priority attention.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/2
0/AR2008112003008.html?hpid=
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